7 Things to Consider Before Implementing Smart Building Technology
Don't leave smart technology selection to chance — make sure you know the answers to these questions before proceeding with a project.
It pays to be methodical when evaluating smart building devices and systems. Addressing these seven questions can help you avoid problems down the road.
1. What scope are you looking for? “Is it for one room, one floor, an entire building, or a campus?” asks Christina Halfpenny, executive director of DesignLights Consortium.
2. What does it take to implement the system or device? “You should definitely understand the time and data required to get the smart technology up and running,” says Joe Aamidor, managing director of Aamidor Consulting.
3. What risks does the product present? Cybersecurity is one obvious concern. But you should also understand how reliable the technology will be in operation, says Dan McJacobson, senior energy engineer with McGuire Engineers. Integration raises other considerations, he observes. When a device or system with a proprietary protocol is integrated into an open system, integration could take place anywhere from the device to the cloud. “If you have connectivity issues, will you lose your integration?” McJacobson asks. “Would that matter?”
4. What’s the pricing model? Some smart equipment has to be paid for upfront, but in other cases the facility pays an annual subscription fee, which also covers software updates.
5. Are there incentives or rebates available for installing the smart technology you’re considering?
6. What are your staff capabilities? Some smart technology is plug and play, while other systems have to be customized to a given facility. If you are looking at technology designed to identify hidden problems in building systems, consider whether your staff has the time and knowledge to address problems after they’ve been uncovered. Be sure to consider whether training will be needed or work processes will have to be changed. The former may require a budget; the latter may require a change management program.
7. What’s the warranty? It might be materials only. The importance of a strong warranty might be greater for a complex system, Halfpenny notes.
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